Interview with John Hickenlooper. TRANSCRIPT: 5/29/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.

Mary Gay Scanlon, John Hickenlooper

GEORGE WILL, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  So, it`s very hard to – I mean, you say

he is overturning norms. 




All right.  George Will, just so you know, the Cubs are up 2-0 in the

third, the Internet tells me.  Thought you would want to know it.  Fellow

Cubs fan. 


WILL:  Life is good. 


HAYES:  Yes, maybe we can get off this losing run here.  Thank you very



That is ALL IN for this evening. 


“THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right now.  Good evening, Rachel. 


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening, Chris.  Thank you, my friend. 

Much appreciated. 


HAYES:  You bet.


MADDOW:  Thanks for you at home joining us this hour. 


You know, it is one thing to see it in black and white.  It is another

thing to hear him say it out loud. 





confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have

said so.  We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the

president did commit a crime.  Under long-standing department policy, a

president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office.  A

special counsel`s office is part of the Department of Justice, and by

regulation, it was bound by that department policy.  Charging the president

with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider. 




MADDOW:  Charging the president with a crime was not an option we were even

allowed to consider.  By the way, though, if we had concluded that he

didn`t commit a crime, we would definitely tell you that, and you`ll notice

we`re not telling you that. 


It has been two years now since special counsel Robert Mueller was

appointed to investigate Russian interference in the last presidential

election.  Two years and 12 days ago is when he was first appointed.  Today

was the first day that we have heard from Mueller himself in his own words,

and honestly, the consequence of hearing from him today for the first time

is I think what is now the widely-held expectation that the Democratic-

controlled Congress will have no choice but to open an impeachment inquiry

into President Trump, not because they want to.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

has been blunt and consistent and insistent in making sure she would

frankly rather stick a fork in her eye. 


But now we know that what Congress didn`t fully appreciate when they all

initially cheered the appointment of Robert Mueller, when they praised him

personally, when they praised the decision of the Justice Department to

appoint a special counsel to look into this matter, what I think Congress

didn`t fully grasp at the time was that the regulations under which Mueller

was appointed meant that if this investigation turned up serious evidence

of serious misconduct, if it turned up evidence of potentially criminal

behavior by the president, the only and inevitable outcome of that

determination by the special counsel would be that Congress themselves

would have to do something about it. 


I am quite sure that nobody in Congress would have been nearly as excited

about Robert Mueller taking on this job and about a special counsel being

appointed at all had they realized from the outset that that`s what would

happen at the end of Mueller`s investigation if he found the most serious

and seriously negative thing in his investigation, it would go to Congress

for them to handle.  But now we know from the horse`s mouth as of today,

finally, more than two years into this thing that according to Justice

Department policies, any evidence of a president`s criminal behavior that`s

turned up by a special counsel, any evidence of that is to be given to

Congress to deal with. 


That`s what you do with that information, full stop.  It doesn`t go to

anybody else.  Congress, it is on you guys. 




MUELLER:  The matters we investigated were of paramount importance.  It was

critical for us to obtain full and accurate information from every person

we questioned.  When the subject of an investigation obstructs that

investigation or lies to investigators, it strikes at the core of their

government`s effort to find the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable. 


The order appointing me special counsel authorized us to investigate

actions that could obstruct the investigation.  We conducted that

investigation, and we kept the office of the acting attorney general

apprised of the progress of our work. 


Under long-standing department policy, a president cannot be charged with a

federal crime while he is in office.  The department`s written opinion

explaining the policy makes several important points.  The opinion

explicitly permits the investigation of a sitting president because it is

important to preserve evidence while memories are fresh and documents

available.  Second, the opinion says that the Constitution requires a

process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting

president of wrongdoing. 




MADDOW:  So the Justice Department opinion that says you can`t charge a

president says, first, that a special counsel should nevertheless collect

and preserve evidence of a president`s potential criminal behavior.  Why is

that?  Why collect and preserve that evidence if you can`t charge that

president as a result of that evidence? 


Well, among other things, if in fact there turns out to be evidence that

shows a president may have committed crimes – well, you are going to need

that evidence to indict the president for those crimes one way or the

other.  To bring charges.  It`s just that indictment cannot come from the

Justice Department. 




MUELLER:  The Constitution requires a process other than the criminal

justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing. 




MADDOW:  The determination of a president`s criminal culpability is a

process that does not and cannot take place within the criminal justice

system.  That is a determination to be made in Congress. 


And, you know, to be clear and to stomp on a point that I think will make

the first paragraph of William Barr`s obituary some day, what Robert

Mueller made clear today is the determination as to whether or not charge

the president, the decision to formally accuse a sitting president of

wrongdoing, that is not to be made within the whole criminal justice

system, which means it`s not to be made by the special counsel`s office

within the Justice Department.  It`s not to be made by the Justice

Department at all, which means presumably, that it is also not to be made

by the top official at the Justice Department, the attorney general. 


Nevertheless, Attorney General William Barr took it upon himself to do

that, to assess the president`s potential criminal wrongdoing and to

publicly proclaim no charges, no charges, everything the president looks

fine, everybody the president did looks fine. 


So what I`m giving you here, this is not groundbreaking analysis, right, of

Mueller`s statement.  Robert Mueller`s public statement today really didn`t

leave much wiggle room for contrary analysis, and that is exactly the point

of him personally making a succinct public statement about his own work and

his own reasoning, so the American people could clearly understand it. 


I mean, reading the 458-page Mueller report is awesome.  I highly recommend

it.  You should do it.  But as a person who read the report, I still find

it helpful to have the dude that wrote it up there saying hey, you know,

here`s what it says, and here`s the important bits you want to make sure

you don`t miss out on. 


That is finally what we got from Mueller today.  That`s a helpful thing for

public understanding, on top of telling people to read the report

themselves.  And because it was a helpful thing to hear it from him today,

to have him make that public statement, it is therefore not surprising and

not a bad thing that the well informed press and members of Congress and

presidential candidates and the public have all been sort of greeting his

statement today with some exclamation points, right?  With some shock and

surprise, even though, yes, it`s true, this stuff really was in his report. 


Yes, Mueller and his team really did find that they could not exonerate the

president of obstruction of justice.  They were looking to see if they

could clear him.  They could not. 


Yes, the obstruction efforts they documented were really serious, and they

did impede the ability of Mueller and his investigators to get to the

bottom of Russian interference in the election and the Trump campaign`s

involvement in it.  Yes. 


And, yes, Mueller and his team said in their report that the special

counsel`s office didn`t have the option of charging Trump, even if they

wanted to, or of even saying that they believed Trump committed crimes. 

They didn`t have that option because of the Justice Department policy that

precludes charges against a sitting president.  Yes, that was in the



But when Mueller said it today, nevertheless, it was greeted as huge news. 

I mean, Mueller had explained in his report that because of Justice

Department policy, it`s only Congress that can and must – he basically

says in the report and must determine the president`s criminal culpability

for committing obstruction of justice here.  That was my favorite part from

the whole written report, right? 


That Congress, he says, that Congress may apply obstruction laws to the

president`s corrupt exercise to the powers of office accords with our

constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no

person is above the law.  Congress has the authority to prohibit a

president`s corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity

of the administration of justice, right? 


Mueller is saying, you know, it`s no big deal if you want to apply

obstruction laws to the president, unless you want to uphold our

constitutional system of constitutional balances and no person is above the

law.  If you want to do that, you want to apply the obstruction institutes



And, Congress, you know, it`s no big deal whether or not you want to pursue

the president for corruptly using his authority to obstruct justice.  It`s

no big deal unless you want to protect the administration of justice in the

United States of America.  I mean, it`s already made that case that

Congress can and must act based on this kind of evidence. 


And it was stunning to see it there in the report in black and white in the

first place.  But honestly, it is something all together different to see

him say it out loud, in person, unfiltered, making a public presentation of

your findings matters.  Which makes it all the more remarkable and

significant that instead of just letting Mueller do that from the outset,

we the people have muddled through more than nine weeks of the attorney

general making up porky pies about what Mueller did and didn`t do, and

claiming that Mueller was leading a spy ring and telling Congress that

Mueller should have never been allowed to investigate this stuff in the

first place, and no collusion, no collusion.  What are you going to do,

lock me up, Nancy? 


I mean, that`s been the past nine weeks.  Imagine if Mueller had just been

allowed at the outset to release the introductions that he and his team

wrote, summarizing the two volumes of their report.  Imagine if at the

outset, Mueller had just said publicly what he finally was allowed to say

publicly today about his investigation and about his report.  Imagine that

had been from the outset how we learned about what Mueller found and what

Mueller did and what the country and specifically the Congress is expected

to do with the evidence that Mueller turned up that he couldn`t use to

bring charges but somebody could. 


And so now, the Congress really is in a different place than they were

before 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time this morning.  Because Mueller has now for

the first time in more than two years, he has been allowed to speak on his

own terms, and he has made clear in no uncertain terms that the next move

is not going to come from him.  It is going to have to come from Congress. 




MUELLER:  So that was Justice Department policy.  Those were the principles

under which we operated, and from them we concluded that we would – would

not reach a determination one way or the other about whether the president

committed a crime.  That is the office`s final position.  Now I hope and

expect to be the only time I will speak to you in this manner. 


Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report.  We chose

those words carefully and the work speaks for itself.  And I will close by

reiterating the central allegation of our indictments, that there were

multiple systematic efforts to interfere in our election, and that

allegation deserves the attention of every American. 


Thank you.  Thank you for being here today. 


REPORTER:  Sir, if you`re subpoenaed –


MUELLER:  No questions. 




MADDOW:  No questions.  I said no questions. 


The work speaks for itself.  Here it is.  We in the special counsel`s

office can`t charge him.  Here`s the evidence we found, though.  We`d tell

you if he clearly didn`t commit obstruction, and, boy howdy, are we not

saying that.  We tried to clear him.  Couldn`t. 


And by the way, obstruction is a really serious crime, and to the extent

that there was criminal obstruction here, and we lay that out over more

than 100 pages, that was obstruction of a really, really important

investigation into something very, very bad for our whole country that

every American should really care about.  And did I mention, that`s it from



I mean, I think that Congress will still get testimony from Robert Mueller

probably by hook or by crook.  I`m still interested in the question of his

team, the prosecutors and agents and analysts that worked with him will

also testify.


A House intelligence chairman already said today: Thank you, sir.  We`re

looking forward to your testimony.  That`s a good hint that he is still

going to be asked to testify. 


But there is a reason that there was unanimity today from presidential

candidates, even from the ones who have been more reticent on this issue in

the past.  Today in response to Mueller`s statement, none of them are being

reticent today.  There is a reason that all today said impeachment inquiry

must be opened. 


There`s a reason that the statement in response to Mueller today from

Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, where he said this, he said given that

special counsel Mueller was unable to pursue criminal charges against the

president, it falls to Congress to respond to the crimes, lies, and other

wrongdoing of the president, and we will do so. 


There is a reason that after Jerry Nadler made that statement today, there

was some bewilderment that Nadler then gave a life press statement to

reporters in which he still wouldn`t just say that he is opening an

impeachment inquiry.  When he says we will do so, what does he mean?  We

will do what? 


I mean, Democrats wanted to follow Robert Mueller`s lead on this

investigation as far as they could – understandable, cautious, restrained,

and in many ways admirable.  But today that`s over because today we found

out from the horse`s mouth, we found out from Mueller himself exactly how

far Mueller could go. 


And so now, upon Mueller`s resignation from the Justice Department, upon

finally hearing from him about his own work, now the – I believe widely

held expectation is that the House will open an impeachment inquiry into

the president.  Presented with this evidence and with the clarifying out

loud, unquestionable assertion from Mueller himself that it is now their

job to do something about it, Congress will have to do something about it. 


I mean, the question now is I think no longer whether the Democrats will

decide to open an impeachment inquiry.  The question now, it seems to me,

just has to be when.


Joining us now is Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon.  She is a Democratic of

Pennsylvania.  She`s vice chair of the Judiciary Committee. 


Representative Scanlon, it`s really good to have you here with us tonight. 

Thanks for coming in and being here in person. 


REP. MARY GAY SCANLON (D-PA):  Thank you. 


MADDOW:  Let me just get your reaction to what Mueller said today. 


SCANLON:  Well, what Mueller said today wasn`t a surprise to anyone who

like yourself has read the report.  It was great to hear him say it out

loud.  It`s been really frustrating to those of us who have read the report

to see its conclusions misrepresented, glossed over, completely

mischaracterized by the White House and by Attorney General Barr.  So

having it come straight from the horse`s mouth was valuable. 


MADDOW:  In terms of his clear assertions today that it is not for the

criminal justice process, it is not for the criminal justice system to

determine whether or not there is criminal culpability on the part of the

president, that has to be something outside the criminal justice system. 

Clearly, he doesn`t mean some sort of, you know, game show review.  He

doesn`t mean some sort of luck of the draw.  He means Congress pursuing

impeachment proceedings. 


With him clarifying that today – obviously, I mean, I explained the way I

see this, I feel like he`s sort of called the question for the Congress in

terms of whether or not an impeachment inquiry will be opened.  I know that

you have called for that recently yourself. 


Do you think that this changed today the calculus as to whether or not

Democrats will do it? 


SCANLON:  I think we`ve seen an escalation of people as they`ve gotten

through the report, as they`ve read it, Republicans and Democrats, they

come to this conclusion themselves.  The question is whether the American

people will come to that conclusion, because what we`re seeing is that the

Republican Party and the Senate majority is either not reading the report

or they don`t care what`s in the report because we heard from Senate

leadership over the weekend that if the House is to start impeachment

proceedings, they`re just going to shut it down. 


It doesn`t seem to matter to them what evidence is brought forward.  But I

think when people do read the report, when they hear from Robert Mueller,

they understand that these are serious crimes against our country, and they

have to be dealt with. 


MADDOW:  Let me unpack that a little bit, though, because as I understand

it constitutionally, if the House were to open an impeachment inquiry,

decide that the evidence was sufficient to vote on articles of impeachment

and did vote to impeach the president, it would go to the Senate and it

would not be Mitch McConnell`s choice as to whether or not a trial was held

in the Senate on those articles.  The chief justice as I understand it

would have to conduct that trial.  Certainly, Mitch McConnell and the

Republicans could do everything they wanted to try to undercut it, but they

wouldn`t be running it. 


And I wonder if therefore it could still have some additional sort of utile

value in terms of explaining to the American people what happened and why

this is so serious. 


SCANLON:  Well, I think that`s why so many of us have started calling for

an inquiry, because it`s important that the American people understand

what`s in there.  And it`s a really dense document, and you can`t tweet it. 

We`ve tried. 


MADDOW:  You organized an out loud reading of the report. 


SCANLON:  Yes, we did.  We did.  Because we couldn`t get – because the

administration was stonewalling, wasn`t letting us bring in the witnesses

who could say the president told me to lie. 


The president told me to make up documentary evidence.  The president

called me.  His lawyer called me.  They said oh, we love you.  Please don`t



We haven`t been able to bring those witnesses in yet, but we will.  But

it`s important that the American people hear from them, because right now,

we do have this block of the public that hasn`t focused on the report, and

ultimately, we need them to.  This is a serious proceeding, and we need to

have the public understand what the consequences are and what is the

conduct we`re talking about. 


MADDOW:  Congressman Jerry Nadler talking with me here in that seat just

the other night seemed to be basically agnostic on the issue of

impeachment, seeing the value of it, also seeing the arguments against it,

but not crusading one way or the other in public and there has been reports

he has tried to talk Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi into doing it.  She

has been very overt and insistent that we ought not to as a country, that

this is not something that would be of value. 


What`s the status of those arguments?  I mean, how does this get decided? 

Ultimately, it`s the chairman`s decision.  You`re the vice chair of the



You`re – as a leadership of the committee, it`s your call as to whether or

not this is opened. 


SCANLON:  I think what he is not agnostic about that we need to expose the

evidence to the public.  And we need to have hearings.  Whether you call

them impeachment hearings or whether you call them oversight hearings. 


MADDOW:  But why not call them impeachment hearings? 


SCANLON:  Well, I think there is concern about how that`s going to be

played by the White House.  They played everything else. 


MADDOW:  They`re going to tell you that you`re trying to impeach the

president, whether or not you are.  That`s pretty much baked into the 2020

calculus at this point.  I`m sure they have already cooked up the ads that

say it. 


It`s hard – the political calculation on here seems very nebulous, whereas

the constitutional imperative has never seemed more clear than it does



SCANLON:  Well, there is the constitutional imperative.  And I think that

is what is drawing more and more members of the House, as I said both

Republican and now Democrat to say we have a duty to protect the

Constitution, and that`s what`s at stake here. 


MADDOW:  Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon, vice chair of the House Judiciary

Committee, an incredibly important gig right now.  Thank you so much for

coming in person. 


SCANLON:  Thank you.  Appreciate. 


MADDOW:  All right.  We`ll be right back.  Stay with us. 







yet again doing his duty of making sure that the American public fully

understands what`s going on here.  He told us a lot, and I would suggest

that he told us enough to interpret what he said as a referral for

impeachment proceedings. 



over to you, Congress.  If the Justice Department can`t charge a sitting

president with an actual crime, then it goes over to Congress to decide

whether to charge the president with a high crime.  This is as close to an

impeachment referral as you could get under the circumstances. 



can hold the president of the United States accountable right now is

Congress.  These are impeachable offenses.  It is our constitutional

responsibility as members of Congress to bring a judgment of impeachment

against this president. 


BETO O`ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I think Robert Mueller made it

as clear as day for all of us.  He`s telling us if we want to prevent this

from happening again to our democracy, we have to hold those responsible

accountable, and the only method that we can do that is for our

representatives in Congress to begin impeachment proceedings. 




MADDOW:  That`s just some of the 2020 Democratic candidates today reacting

to Mueller`s statement today, which he announced the conclusion of his

tenure as special counsel and his resignation from the Justice Department. 


Roughly summarized, the 2020 Democrats` response was pretty uniform.  This

is the biggest impeachment referral you will ever get.  I didn`t actually

see any of them departing from that line. 


So what happens with that?  According to current NBC News tally, people

have been sort of trying to track this through public statements, of the

435 members of the House, there are 46 Democrats and 1 Republican, Michigan

Congressman Justin Amash who have openly called for opening an impeachment

inquiry.  Nearly four dozen members of Congress, including the vice chair

of the Judiciary Committee who was just our guest here moments ago. 


You know, after the Saturday Night massacre in the fall of 1973 when Nixon

fired his way through the Justice Department to try to get rid of the

special prosecutor who was investigating him for Watergate, after that,

there was a stampede toward impeachment proceedings against Nixon among

Democrats in the House.  It almost went without saying that impeachment

proceedings would open. 


Similarly, following the release of the Ken Starr report in 1998,

Republican members of the House instantly and uniformly backed impeachment

proceedings against Bill Clinton.  Isn`t this current restraint among House

Democrats in the wake of what Mueller has publicly presented, isn`t it a

little unusual just historically speaking? 


Joining us now is Michael Beschloss, NBC presidential historian.  He`s the

author most recently of “Presidents of War.”


Mr. Beschloss, it`s great to see you.  Thank you very much for being here






MADDOW:  So, is this restraint that we`re seeing from the Democratic

leadership in the House, do you think it is unusual given the historical

circumstances here? 


BESCHLOSS:  Yes, I do.  I think it really defies history.  Just as you said

in the case of Richard Nixon after the Saturday Night Massacre, a lot of

members of the house wanted impeachment, and also, Leon Jaworski, the

special prosecutor, sent the secret report over to the House that was

called the Watergate road map – you and have I talked about that before –

1st of March, 1974 with supporting evidence, and that allowed the House to

essentially good ahead.  And that was considered to be so hot it wasn`t

released until about seven months ago. 


And then in the case of the Starr report, that was released to the public

in September of 1998, and Starr sent that immediately to the house, along

with 18 boxes of evidence.  And once again, the members of the House which

was Republican at this point said let`s impeach, and they began the



There was not this feeling that we have to hold back because maybe we`ll

look too political. 


MADDOW:  Mueller indicated clearly today that his preference is not to have

to say another word about the investigation, not to have to testify.  Is

there any help from history on that point?  Is there precedent in terms of

special counsels or other high profile public investigators like this

having to testify or electing to testify after making some form of their

findings public?  Do you think that Mueller be forced to testify? 


BESCHLOSS:  I think he will be.  I think he will not get his wish, if it

really is his wish.  He may feel if he has to testify, it is better for him

to do that after having today made a point that he is doing it extremely

reluctantly, and maybe more in sorrow than in anger. 


But it would be crazy if we were not called to testify.  And I don`t know

about you, Rachel, but Robert Mueller does not look to me like the kind of

person who is going to defy a congressional subpoena that is to testify

beyond what he`s just said in that report. 


Kenneth Starr testified before the House in the impeachment investigation

against Bill Clinton November of 1998.  That`s a precedent. 


MADDOW:  Michael, I also wanted to ask you about your reaction as a

historian to the arguments that Democrats are making.  You often hear them

making these arguments sort of by proxy.  Like Mary Gay Scanlon who is just

here, vice chair of the Judiciary Committee, she thinks they should open an

inquiry.  She has been very articulate about it. 


When I asked her here, “Well, why isn`t that happening,” she is sort of

arguing by proxy, saying what other people are saying is that Democrats

worry about the political consequences of that.  And the way that usually

gets shorthanded when people draw a historical analogy is to the Clinton

situation, that when Clinton was impeached in the House in 1998, it

obviously failed in the Senate, and politically it was seen as something

that boomeranged on the Republicans, ending Newt Gingrich`s career among

other things. 




MADDOW:  What do you make of that argument, whether it`s implicit or

explicit?  Do you think there are appropriate historical parallels to draw

between this situation and that one? 


BESCHLOSS:  Not much.  I`ve never been impressed by the Clinton situation

as a precedent for this, showing us what might happen.  Clinton was in the

high 60s in approval, very much different from Donald Trump.  The offenses

he was accused of were in retrospect a lot more modest than the possible

crimes that we`re reading about in the Mueller report. 


So, if you`re looking at the Clinton case and saying, does this show us

that if the Democrats begin a House impeachment investigation, they have to

worry about losing the election next year, I think that`s a really false



And the other thing, I think you said it a little earlier in the program,

you know, all very nice, the more important thing, those members of the

House, they all took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution.  And

if they do not do anything about these possible crimes that Robert Mueller

has described very vividly in this report, they`re essentially saying we`re

not going to – we don`t care about the rule of law.  And obstructing

justice, if that`s what Donald Trump has done, that will become the new

normal.  And later presidents will feel very free to do it too because

they`ll just say the House will not do it if they think it will get them

into political trouble. 


What should always prevail is a feeling by members of the House that

they`re going to protect the Constitution.  And if they do not do that,

we`re going to be in a lawless society, and we will lose our democracy. 


MADDOW:  Michael Beschloss, NBC presidential historian, thank you for that

very sobering perspective, sir.  It`s always great to have you here. 


BESCHLOSS:  Thank you, Rachel.  Thank you so much. 


MADDOW:  All right.  Lots more to get to tonight.  In fact, our next 2020

candidate interview is just ahead tonight, somebody who we have not had

before on this show before, and boy, is he here on a good night.  That`s



We`ll be right back. 




MADDOW:  This week, we are looking at the prospect that for the first time

since Roe versus Wade, an American state will have zero legal access to

abortion.  Zero legal abortion providers. 


Missouri`s Republican-controlled government has made it their business to

try to put out of business every clinic that provides abortion in that

whole state, and they`ve done great at it.  Over the past 10 years, they`ve

winnowed it down from at least five clinics providing abortions in the

state to now just one last clinic for the entire population of Missouri. 

And as of last night, that clinic says it`s been informed by the state`s

government that the state is going to refuse to renew their license to

operate immediately this week, which means by the day after tomorrow, the

state of Missouri may become the first state in the country to go dark in

terms of abortion rights since Roe v. Wade supposedly enshrined that right

into law across the land. 


Now, there was a court hearing on this Missouri issue today that was called

off at the last minute, sort of an unusual development.  Nobody seems to

know exactly why the court hearing on this today got called off or now how

this is going to resolve in such a short time frame.  But that Missouri

situation, it comes at a time when people in Republican-controlled states

across the country are seeing those states ban abortion.  And it comes at a

time when the conservative majority on the Supreme Court seems as eager and

capable as they`ve ever been of striking down the laws that otherwise have

kept clinics open. 


So, you know, that`s one way to do it.  That`s what Republican-controlled

states are making their priority in 2019, banning abortion in print, and

banning abortion in practice, and seeing how far and how fast they can push

the Supreme Court to make it go away nationwide.  That`s one way. 


Here is an opposite way.  If you were driving down the highway in Colorado

in 2012, you might have seen billboards like these.  I want her to know I`m

ready to be a dad.  Pregnancy, just talk about it.


They had billboards in Spanish, too.  This one says, we are ready for a

relationship, not a baby.


This is part of a state public health campaign in Colorado that year to try

to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies in that state, which of course

down the line naturally reduces the number of abortions in the state as



This public policy program – this public health program in Colorado, it

was built around a specific technology, long-acting, reversible

contraception, specifically, these little guys.  This is an IUD.  It`s a

long-acting reversible contraception.  That`s a method of preventing

pregnancy.  It`s more reliable than the pill. 


With the IUD, you put the device in and you don`t have to do anything to

keep it going.  You don`t have to remember to take some pill at the same

time every day.  It just works consistently until years down the road you

may eventually need a new one, or years down the road you decide you may

want to get pregnant so you have yours removed. 


But IUDs are expensive.  They cost hundreds of dollars.  A lot of clinics

can`t afford to give women a free IUD or subsidize one. 


So, Colorado saw that as an issue, saw the public health need there, and

decided there was a way to fix that.  And starting in 2009, they did this

unique program.  Colorado got millions of dollars in private grant money to

buy tens of thousands of IUDs for public health clinics all over that state

so those clinics could then offer IUDs to their patients for free or at

reduced costs, as a way to reduce unwanted pregnancies in the state,

particularly among teenaged girls. 


And, boy howdy, did it work.  Colorado officials site that IUD program as

the primary factor for the den birth rate dropping by 54 percent.  The teen

abortion rate in Colorado dropped by even more, by 64 percent.


What began with a private grant became a line item in the state budget to

keep funding IUDs for Colorado women who wanted them.  It was signed into

the budget in 2016 by the state`s governor at the time, Democrat John



People talk about Hickenlooper as an unconventional politician who has a

record of results.  Well, that`s one of the conventions that undergirds

that reputation, a phenomenally successful, radically new idea in public

health that absolutely worked. 


John Hickenlooper started off as a geologist.  Didn`t work out.  Decided to

open a brew pub in Denver.  Sure, that makes sense. 


Turns out that took off.  Hickenlooper went on to become the mayor of

Denver.  Then he served eight year as the mayor of Colorado, one of the

most popular governors in the country, and one of them with the most

practical track record among all of his peers. 


Hickenlooper left the governorship in January.  Now, he is running for

president.  And, of course, it`s not the centerpiece of his campaign, but

it`s a memorable and unique part of it that he has earned the right to

propose and pursue because he did it already in his state. 


As part of his presidential campaign, Governor Hickenlooper is now

proposing a national version of that public health problem – public health

program, that IUD program he helped oversee in Colorado. 


Policy paper from his campaign says, quote: In light of the systemic attack

on women`s reproductive rights in states across the country, a federal

program which expands access to affordable, effective contraception is even

more necessary than when Colorado`s program began ten years ago.  As

president, Hickenlooper would subsidize the cost of long-acting reversible

contraception for women who can`t afford it and dramatically expand access

for all American women. 


Joining us women now for the interview is John Hickenlooper.  He is the

former Colorado governor.  He is a current candidate in the Democratic

presidential primary. 


Governor, it`s great to see you.  Thanks for being here. 




MADDOW:  A lot of people are talking about the size of the Democratic field

and what it takes to stand out, what it takes to get donors` attention. 

This is something that we have covered on the show years ago when you were

in the midst of this, in the midst of fighting political battles over this

in Colorado.  At the time, you were overtly saying you would never run for



Nobody would think you would do this or something, as a gambit to run for

president.  But this is one of the things that you pursued as governor that

I think kind of sets you apart and tells a story about you that I think

both people will remember, but also as a kind of window into your



Do you think that`s fair?  And was this harder to get done than it seems

from the outside? 


HICKENLOOPER:  Well, I think that it`s a fundamental inalienable right that

women should have control of their own bodies.  And I think that`s what`s

going on, this constant assault on women`s reproductive rights, you see it

in Alabama, Indiana, even Missouri now, so many states that it`s horrific. 


And what we did was we went the other direction, right?  We went out and

expanded women`s access to IUDs and Norplants, long acting reversible

contraception, as you described it, and reduced teenaged abortion by 64

percent, teenage pregnancy by 54 percent and in the process saved $70

million out of Colorado tax money. 


So, the notion that the people that are so opposed to abortion don`t

recognize that in many ways by eliminating women`s access to reproductive

health, they`re actually going to increase the number of abortions.  It`s



MADDOW:  Do you feel like – part of the reason this was interesting to me

at the time we initially covered it is because when you were running for

reelection as governor of Colorado, your Republican opponent tried to make

an issue on this a real straight forward cultural war way, that you were a

bad person for pursuing this, and this wasn`t respectful of family values. 

He was pretty critical on the issue. 


And I feel like you, rather than just directly rebutting him on that, you

sort of threaded this third way.  You found another way to say, you know,

look at one of the things we did here is greatly reduce the number of



HICKENLOOPER:  You know, I got elected in 2010.  When I got elected, I was

the first Denver mayor in 120 years to get elected as governor of Colorado. 

And as you know, 2010 was one of the worst years for Democrats in history,

followed closely by 2014 when I won reelection. 


And a big part of that success was the result of really going all over the

state and making sure that when we talked about women`s health care, that

we had the clinics and the community health centers and, you know, a

network that really as much as possible, even in those difficult to reach

smaller towns, that we gave women choices, and allowed them to control

their own bodies. 


MADDOW:  I have a lot to ask you about your time as governor and as your

campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination this year.  Stay right

where you are. 


Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado is our guest.  We`ll be right back.




MADDOW:  Back with us in the studio and for the interview is John

Hickenlooper, former Colorado governor who is now running in the Democratic

presidential primary. 


Governor, thanks for sticking with us. 




MADDOW:  It has been reported that you were considered as a potential

running mate for Hillary Clinton in 2016.  Is that true? 


HICKENLOOPER:  Yes.  I was down to one of the last three or four that went

through all the vetting. 


MADDOW:  Yes.  Well, do you wish you had been her running mate?  What do

you think about how 2016 went?  Why do you think Donald Trump was able to

beat her? 


HICKENLOOPER:  You know, that`s a whole long story, and I don`t want to

relitigate the past.  I certainly admire Secretary Clinton, and she`s been

a great adviser at various points in my career, and even in this

presidential –


MADDOW:  You`ve talked to her about this run? 


HICKENLOOPER:  Oh, yes.  She and Bill, we had a long dinner, and they gave

a lot of advice.  And it helped me focus, right? 


I mean, the reason I`m running is because I think Donald Trump is fueling a

national crisis of division.  And Trump is the symptom, not the disease. 

I`m not saying it`s essential to beat Donald Trump, but I`m running

because, you know, this crisis of division is taking the country backwards,

but I don`t think socialism is the answer, right? 


I think we`ve – in Colorado, we got business and nonprofits and

Republicans and Democrats to get to near universal health care, to, you

know, get to a point where we really address climate change issues, and we

beat the NRA with some tough new gun laws, right? 


As an entrepreneur, I mean, I am an entrepreneur, and a governor.  And as

such, I`ve been able to bring people together and get big progressive

things done that people said couldn`t be done. 


MADDOW:  Why identify socialism as the alternative here?  I feel like the

Republicans have tried to define the Democratic Party as a socialist party? 

Are you just saying Bernie Sanders would be a bad nominee? 


HICKENLOOPER:  No, no, I think that many of my colleagues are promoting

large expansions of government.  I don`t think we`re going to succeed in

addressing climate change if – within that legislation, we`re guaranteeing

federal jobs for everyone.  I don`t think we`re going to get to universal

health care if it includes taking 160 million people and taking them off

their private insurance which many of them don`t want to lose. 


I mean, I think we`ve got to get focused if we`re going to address these

issues and be surgical in how we propose solutions.  I think, again, my

record of – I think I`m the one person who has actually done what everyone

else is talking about. 


And I think at a certain point, if we`re going to win in Ohio and Michigan

and North Carolina, we`re going to need someone with – who is a

progressive but a pragmatic, and maybe a dreamer but also a doer, but

someone who can show that they`ve gotten stuff done. 


MADDOW:  You know, though, if you were the Democratic presidential nominee

this year, that with all of your pragmatism and all of your record of

working across the aisle, Donald Trump will run against you and the entire

Republican Party will run against you as a socialist. 




MADDOWE:  And that would be the term – you`ve just used that to disparage

some of your candidates that are running on the same side as you on the

Democratic side.  But that will be the moniker they put on everybody no

matter what you do.  And so, why play into that by saying socialism is the



HICKENLOOPER:  Well, I`m not playing into it.  What I`m laying out is real

solutions.  I don`t think those solutions include, you know, large

expansions in government. 


I think that we – if we`re not careful, if we don`t distance ourselves

from socialism, I think we`re going to allow, we`re going to turn the

election over, a victory over to the worst president in the history of this



MADDOW:  You think that`s the key to beating Donald Trump is making sure

you don`t seem socialist? 


HICKENLOOPER:  I think part of defeating Donald Trump in those swing states

is to make sure we are seen as real pragmatic solutions.  That what we`re

suggesting and really promoting are active solutions that bring people

together and get, you know, big challenging solutions to our problems. 


MADDOW:  Let me – speaking of pragmatism.  I opened up talking about that

incredibly innovative and successful public health program that you

championed in Colorado. 




MADDOW:  And faced down its critics and won support for it and made it

permanent and all the things that did you there.  If you are – you`re now

proposing something like that should be done nationally.  If you are

elected president, John Hickenlooper, Democratic president, sworn into

office, January 2021, Mitch McConnell still controls the Republican-

controlled Senate.  You`re never getting that program through. 


Mitch McConnell has – will say just like he did with Barack Obama, I`m not

letting anything through, I don`t even care if any Republicans like the

idea.  That said, if you ran for Senate, in Colorado, and you are the

candidate who could most easily take a Republican Senate seat in Colorado,

you would have a more – you would have a better chance of flipping the

Senate to Democratic control.  You would propose that legislation, it would

sail through a new Democratic president would sign it into law. 


I mean, pragmatically, I wish you were running for the Senate. 


HICKENLOOPER:  No, I understand, and you`ve obviously been talking to Chuck



MADDOW:  No, I never talk to Chuck Schumer.




MADDOW:  But I can do this math myself. 


HICKENLOOPER:  No, of course.  And I – you know, I spent my whole life as

an entrepreneur and mayor and governor putting teams of people together and

Republicans and Democrats, people from business, from non-profits, creating

amazing teams that have taken on unimaginable challenges, and we have

gotten the big stuff done. 


And that`s what excites me, it`s what motivates me, it`s what I`m really

good at.  And I think I`m that person that can bring people together and

really get done the big progressive things that people say can`t get done. 

And at a certain point, we`ve got to challenge this fundamental nonsense in

Washington and replace it with some common sense. 


MADDOW:  John Hickenlooper, who until January was the governor of Colorado,

one of the most popular and accomplished governors in the country – sir,

thank you so much for coming in. 




MADDOW:  It`s good to have you here.  I hope you come back. 




MADDOW:  All right.  More news ahead.  Stay with us. 




MADDOW:  Hey, one more thing about this dramatic statement that we got from

Robert Mueller today in Washington, his announcement that he hoped today

would be his last word on his investigation.  You should know that as

Mueller was wrapping up those remarks at the Justice Department in D.C.

today, two blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue, the chief federal judge in D.C.

District Court was hearing a sort of rollicking set of arguments in one of

the ongoing cases that Mueller`s investigation has spawned. 


Mueller may want to be done but his work is not.  For almost a year now, a

young man who worked with Roger Stone, a young man named Andrew Miller, has

been fighting tooth and nail to try to avoid responding to a subpoena from

Mueller that directs him to testify to a grand jury.  Now, Miller`s lawyers

have tried everything to keep him from having to testify, everything from

challenging the legality of Mueller`s appointment in the first place, to

saying that this grand jury testimony must be about the Roger Stone case

since Roger Stone has already been charged, then prosecutors can`t possibly

need to have this kid to testify anymore.  They`ve tried everything. 


Well, today, after months and months of legal wrangling over this and what

must be huge legal bills for this guy, today the chief judge in D.C.

District Court finally just shut the whole thing down and Andrew Miller

will testify now the day after tomorrow or he`s going to jail.  We got this

transcript late tonight from this proceeding. 


The judge says, quote, to Miller`s lawyer, quote: You understand that if

Mr. Miller does not appear before the grand jury on Friday, he will be in

contempt and there will be a warrant issued for him?


Miller`s lawyer says: Yes, Your Honor. 


The judge says: Do you understand that? 


Miller`s lawyer says: Yes, your honor. 


And then the judge says: Does your client understand that? 


And then Andrew Miller who is on speakerphone says on speakerphone: Yes,

Your Honor. 


And so, the judge says: All right, I will expect I will hear from the

government should Mr. Miller fail to appear on Friday, at what time Mr.

Zelinsky?  She asked Aaron Zelinsky, prosecutor from the special counsel`s

office.  Zelinsky says: 9:30 a.m., Your Honor. 


The judge says; 9:30 a.m., Friday, Mr. Miller`s presence is required. 


So again, this has been going on for like a year that they`ve been trying

to get grand jury testimony from this guy Andrew Miller.  They have issued

a subpoena, as you know, subpoenas are not an invitation.  They are

mandatory.  You do not have a choice as to whether or not you can obey a

subpoena, take note. 


Miller has been fighting this for a very long time.  But as of today, that

case is finally settled and he is finally expected to give his testimony to

Mueller`s grand jury on Friday morning at 9:30. 


A side note here is that Mueller`s grand jury is continuing to meet. 

Mueller may have just pronounced his work done but a whole bunch of this

stuff is ongoing.  Stay tuned. 


That does it for us tonight.  We`ll see you again tomorrow. 




Good evening, Lawrence.







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